The Beer Bottle Chandelier Project
Once I had learned how to cut glass bottles, the first thing I wanted to do was put my new found skills to the test and show you how to make a chandelier.
A bottle chandelier seemed like the perfect pairing for not only using the glass cutter but also in the natural progression of all the bottle craft projects that I’ve tried. With different pictures culled from DIY magazines as well as the internet, I had a pretty good idea of what the look and feel the chandelier should have.
Nothing ever turns out exactly as you envision it. No, not at all in this case. The base structure of the lamp itself was something that was needed before I could even begin. Why pay full price for something that you’re literally going to modify into something completely different? A few trips to different garage sales and warehouse outlets turned up the perfect lighting structure. It was marked for $20.00 because the huge glass bowl that sat in the ring had broken in transit. Someone else’s loss was our gain.
Now that I had the basic mechanics for the chandelier I found myself pouring through the pictures once again to try to figure out how they had attached the bottles. The pictures didn’t provide any real answers and the DIY magazines only seemed to show case how cool they looked in these different houses.
The old chandelier came with the house and although it was still fully functioning, we didn’t like the heavy feel it had. Once it was taken down we realized exactly how heavy it really was.
Our new chandelier is much lighter and less obtrusive. It has three arms for the light bulbs that come off the main stem. I cut three bottles and placed them over each light bulb. It was a little subdued but seemed to work just fine. I asked Silke what she thought and she commented on it being too dark. A couple of minutes later I reached up to take the bottle off the bulb and was amazed at how hot they had already gotten. Placing the cut bottles on or around the bulbs was not an option.
There had to be some way off attaching the bottles to the chandelier and I wasn’t finding it sitting around the house. Off to the hardware store Silke and I went. The answer laid in the plumbing department. Steel bands that were shaped to adhere pipes to walls were the perfect fit. Silke wanted to keep in line with the metal band that the bottles would be attached to, so we found bronze plated screws to attach them with. We had some black spray paint at home so I could at least get the attachments close to the same color as the fixture.
The hardest part of doing all of this was drilling the holes for the screws. I mounted the brackets in place and used a black marker to show where to drill. It took forever!
Two drill bits later and I was ready to attach the bottles. We wanted bottles that would match the fixture so we went with a darker brown bottle that had a dual lip on the neck. The bottles fit perfectly into the bands and I was able to securely attach each bottle. Anxious to see the result, I quickly hung it up. It was anything but spectacular. It didn’t look as cool as the pictures in the magazines and if you walked around it, you were actually blinded by the light that came through the areas between the bottles. I was ready to hang the original chandelier back up.
Long story short: I couldn’t ignore it. Which is exactly what I was trying to do. The sight of it was enough to make me want to leave the room. It hung there in it’s incomplete state for a day or two. Finally I was ready to finish it or throw it away. The light bulbs needed to be changed. The original ones were too much for this level of lighting. There are three chains that come off the main ring so that the chandelier can hang. This left three gaps in between the bottles that would need to be filled. Lastly, all the screws that I had used to secure each bottle could be seen on the inside of the ring. I couldn’t doing anything with them but hide them.
With a much softer bulb, we were able to tone down the amount of light that was coming through. Second, we added three more bottles to fill in the gaps. 12 bottles hang on the outside of the ring and three on the inside.
This was accomplished by simply adding three more bottle holders and using the same screws that were already coming through. The last thing was to add a decorative trim to the top. This concealed the screws coming out of the back and actually used them to help fasten it on.
Silke and I stepped back and had our awe moment. It had turned out better then what we had seen in any of the magazines or pictures on the internet. It was more than just functional, it was also reflective of our own personal taste. I’m talking about more than just the beer here. The colors worked with the dining room table and we must have shot a dozen pictures of it by now.
Sometimes it’s hard to leave well enough alone. There was one chandelier that had these really cool ‘Edison light bulbs‘. Silke liked the look that they gave and they seemed to match the look we had with the brown bottles. I ordered them online and we anxiously awaited for them to arrive. When they came the first thing I noticed was how small they actually are. Once they were inside the chandelier it felt like they were on a dimmer switch.
Great for mood lighting but not very functional for day to day use. I’ve since put the other bulbs back in. If it’s not broke . . .
The final bottle chandelier. None of the bottles hanging on the lamp are cut in any way shape or form. I did consume my fair share of the liquid contents it took to make the lamp but in no way shape or form did I consume all of it. I had help! Hey, it’s for arts sake and somebody had to get the ball rolling.
A quick trip to our local art and crafts store for some wired decorations and viola! We’re happy with the end result and any thoughts of taking it down are now long forgotten.
If you want to try to make a Beer Bottle Chandelier yourself and have any questions, let us know in the comment section below.